Battle of The Nile - Battle of The Nile

Battle of The Nile

For more details on this topic, see Order of battle at the Battle of the Nile.

Ten minutes after the French opened fire Goliath, ignoring fire from the fort to starboard and from Guerrier to port, most of which was too high to trouble the ship, crossed the head of the French line. Captain Thomas Foley had noticed as he approached that there was an unexpected gap between Guerrier and the shallow water of the shoal. On his own initiative, Foley decided to exploit this tactical error and changed his angle of approach to sail through the gap. As the bow of Guerrier came within range, Goliath opened fire, inflicting severe damage with a double-shotted raking broadside as the British ship turned to port and passed down the unprepared port side of Guerrier, and Foley's Royal Marines and a company of Austrian grenadiers joined the attack, firing their muskets. Foley had intended to anchor alongside the French ship and engage it closely, but his anchor took too long to descend and his ship passed Guerrier entirely. Goliath eventually stopped close to the bow of Conquérant, opening fire on the new opponent and using the unengaged starboard guns to exchange occasional shots with the frigate Sérieuse and bomb vessel Hercule which were anchored inshore of the battle line. Foley's attack was followed by Hood in Zealous, who also crossed the French line and successfully anchored next to Guerrier in the space Foley had intended, engaging the lead ship's bow from close range. Within five minutes Guerrier's foremast had fallen, to cheers from the crews of the approaching British ships. The French captains had been taken by surprise by the speed of the British advance, and were still aboard Orient in conference with the admiral when the firing started. Hastily launching their boats, they returned to their vessels. Captain Jean-François-Timothée Trullet of Guerrier shouted orders from his barge for his men to return fire on Zealous.

The third British ship into action was HMS Orion under Captain Sir James Saumarez, which rounded the engagement at the head of the battle line and passed between the French main line and the frigates that lay closer inshore. As he did so, the frigate Sérieuse opened fire on Orion, wounding two men. The convention in naval warfare of the time was that ships of the line did not attack frigates when there were ships of equal size to engage, but in firing first French Captain Claude-Jean Martin had negated the rule and Saumarez waited until the frigate was at close range before replying. Orion needed just one broadside to reduce the frigate to a wreck, and Martin's disabled ship drifted away over the shoal. During the delay caused by this detour, two other British ships joined the battle: Theseus, which had been disguised as a first-rate ship, followed Foley's track across Guerrier's bow. Miller steered his ship through the middle of the melee between the anchored British and French ships until he encountered the third French ship Spartiate. Anchoring to port, Miller's ship opened fire at close range. HMS Audacious under Captain Davidge Gould crossed the French line between Guerrier and Conquérant, anchoring between the ships and raking them both. Orion then rejoined the action further south than intended, firing on the fifth French ship Peuple Souverain and Admiral Blanquet's flagship Franklin.

The next three British ships, Vanguard in the lead followed by HMS Minotaur and HMS Defence, remained in line of battle formation and anchored on the starboard side of the French line at 18:40. Nelson focused his flagship's fire on Spartiate, while Captain Thomas Louis in Minotaur attacked the unengaged Aquilon and Captain John Peyton in Defence joined the attack on Peuple Souverain. With the French vanguard now heavily outnumbered, the following British ships HMS Bellerophon and HMS Majestic passed by the melee and advanced on the so far unengaged French centre. Both ships were soon fighting enemies much more powerful than themselves and began to take severe damage: Captain Henry Darby on Bellerophon missed his intended anchor near Franklin and instead found his ship underneath the main battery of the French flagship, while Captain George Blagdon Westcott on Majestic also missed his station and almost collided with Heureux, coming under heavy fire from Tonnant. Unable to stop in time, Westcott's jib boom became entangled with Tonnant's shroud. The French suffered too: Admiral Brueys on Orient was severely wounded in the face and hand by flying debris during the opening exchange of fire with Bellerophon. The final ship of the British line, Culloden under Troubridge, sailed too close to Aboukir Island in the growing darkness and became stuck fast on the shoal. Despite strenuous efforts from the Culloden's boats, the brig Mutine and the 50-gun HMS Leander under Captain Thomas Thompson, the ship of the line could not be moved, and the waves drove Culloden further onto the shoal, inflicting severe damage to the ship's hull.

Read more about this topic:  Battle Of The Nile

Other articles related to "battle of the nile, battle, battle of":

Sir Thomas Thompson, 1st Baronet - Command - Battle of The Nile
... Finding that there was nothing he could do, Thompson took Leander into the battle, despite his ship being considerably smaller than the French ships ...
HMS Swiftsure (1787) - British Career - Battle of The Nile
... up against the much larger 110-gun French first rate Orient earlier in the battle, until being dismasted and forced to drift out of the action ... Swiftsure had seven killed and 22 wounded during the battle ... Hallowell received a Gold Medal for his role in the battle, and Swiftsure′s first lieutenant, Thomas Cowan, was promoted to commander ...
Armand Blanquet Du Chayla - Battle of The Nile, and Aftermath
... Chayla fought gallantly during the battle and tried in vain to persuade Brueys to order the fleet to set sail ...
Battle Of The Nile - Aftermath - Legacy
... The Battle of the Nile remains one of the Royal Navy's most famous victories, and has remained prominent in the British popular imagination, sustained by ... One of the best known poems about the battle is Casabianca, which was written by Felicia Dorothea Hemans in 1826 and describes a fictional account of the death of Captain Casabianca's son on Orient ... The monument was given by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1819 in recognition of the battle of 1798 and the campaign of 1801 but not erected on the Victoria Embankment until ...

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